skip to primary navigation skip to content

Library Collections

Library Collections

For scientists and scholars, SPRI Library offers a collection for reference developed since the 1920s with over 54,000 monographs, Masters and Doctoral theses, 18,000 maps, and many more pamphlets and press cuttings covering all subjects relating to the Arctic, the Antarctic, and to ice and snow wherever found. Also, 80 current print journal subscriptions augment the vast e-resources available to researchers across the University. For industry, it is a prime information source on such subjects as exploration and exploitation of natural resources and on the environmental implications of such activities in the polar regions; on the design of ice-strengthened shipping and selection of sea routes; and on problems of construction and transportation in cold environments. For Government users, the Library offers an unrivalled resource for the needs of international relations and strategic defence.

The SPRI Library catalogue covers the literature of all subjects relating to the Arctic, Antarctic, and snow and ice, published in a wide range of languages. It also offers comprehensive coverage for all aspects of snow and ice throughout the world. It includes records for individual articles and chapters, as well as books and journals. During a transition period use iDiscover to find items added to the collection since January 2016 and SPRI Library catalogue to find the majority of material prior 2016.

Subject coverage

All subjects relating to the polar regions are included, with particularly good coverage for:

  • land and sea ice
  • snow and snow cover
  • geocryology
  • snow and ice engineering
  • geology
  • marine sciences
  • ice navigation
  • atmospheric sciences
  • global change: indicators and implications
  • environmental issues
  • zoology (especially sea mammals and birds)
  • indigenous peoples of northern Russia, North America and the European Arctic
  • international law and policy
  • history of exploration

Geographic coverage

Particularly good coverage is offered for:

  • Alaska
  • Antarctica (especially published results of historic expeditions)
  • Arctic Ocean and adjacent waters
  • Canadian North (Yukon and Northwest Territories)
  • Northern Fennoscandia
  • Greenland
  • Russian Arctic and Siberia
  • Svalbard

Arctic collections

These are unique in covering all countries of the circumpolar north for all subjects and in all languages. No other library is similarly comprehensive. Particular strengths are the substantial collections relating to the Arctic Ocean, to the European Arctic, and to the Russian North. The Russian North holdings are considered to be the most extensive outside the former Soviet Union and the Library of Congress.

The definition adopted for the Arctic is broadly that of The Circumpolar North (Armstrong, Rogers and Rowley, 1978), with minor modifications affecting south-east Alaska and Labrador. Seas covered are the Arctic Ocean and adjacent waters: the various seas north of Russia (Chukchi, East Siberian, Laptev, Kara and White seas); Barents Sea; Norwegian Sea; Greenland Sea; Labrador Sea; Davis Strait and Baffin Bay; Hudson Bay; Lincoln Sea; waters of the Canadian Arctic Islands; Beaufort Sea; Bering Sea; the Sea of Okhotsk; and the Gulf of Alaska. Land areas covered include Alaska (except for the Panhandle); the Canadian Territories (Yukon and Northwest); those parts of Quebec and Labrador occupied by the Inuit; Greenland; Iceland (natural history only); Svalbard; the European Arctic south to the Arctic Circle; and the Russian Federation south to 63° in European Russia and to 57° in Asia, including all of Kamchatka and Sakhalin.

Antarctic collections

Probably the most famous collections in the Library and without peer anywhere, both for the continent itself and for the surrounding ocean and sub-Antarctic islands.

The Antarctic is taken to include the continent itself together with its surrounding waters and islands north to the Antarctic Convergence but including also those Peri-Antarctic islands occurring north of this zone but still strongly subject to Antarctic influences (Gough Island, the New Zealand Sub-Antarctic Islands, Iles Amsterdam and Saint-Paul, Iles Crozet, Macquarie Island, and the Prince Edward Islands). This area corresponds to the zone of interest of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR). Because of their long association with British Antarctic activities, the library also aims to maintain good, but not exhaustive, holdings for the Falkland Islands and Tristan da Cunha focusing particularly on natural history and on historical and political issues with an Antarctic dimension.

Glaciological collections

Publications on all topics relating to snow and ice in all languages and for all parts of the world are collected. Among subjects included are glacial geology, geocryology, glacioastronomy, and snow and ice engineering.The glaciology collection is thus not restricted to the polar regions.